Congrats to Ciah White & Lauren Hollingsworth Smith: Northern Writers Award 2019

We are delighted that Ciah White of Doncaster Young Writers has won the prestigious Young Northern Writers Award 2019, and Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith, who attends Rotherham Young Writers, has been highly commended.

Ciah: “Winning the Young Northern Writers Award 2019 is a dream come true!”
Lauren: This award has given me so much confidence as a writer and it’s made my dream of writing professionally seem much more realistic. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”

The Northern Writers Awards Scheme is a talent development programme recognising unpublished, work-in-progress by new and established writers from across the North of England. The scheme worth around £40,00 and now in its 20th year, is run by New Writing North with funding from Arts Council England and support from Northumbria University.

Congratulations to all Northern Writer Award winners 2019.

More about the Northern Writers Award

The Northern Writers’ Awards is an innovative and progressive talent development programme, which supports writers to achieve their creative ambitions at all stages of their careers. This year the awards attracted over 1,200 entries. The awards recognise unpublished work-in-progress by new and established writers in the North of England.
The Northern Writers’ Awards are produced by New Writing North with funding from Arts Council England and support from Northumbria University, Channel 4 and North East Chamber of Commerce.

New Writing North is the reading and writing development agency for the north of England, and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. It works in partnership with regional and national partners to produce a range of literary and performance activities including flagship projects such as the Northern Writers’ Awards, Read Regional, Cuckoo Young Writers, the Gordon Burn Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and Durham Book Festival.

About Northumbria University
Northumbria University, Newcastle is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Complementing its work with New Writing North and Channel 4, the University works with a range of high profile cultural partners, including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Live Theatre, Great North Run Culture and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums providing students with industry exposure and live project opportunities.  We were awarded the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in 2012, as well as the Journal’s Culture Award for Best Arts and Business Partnership in 2013. Northumbria University’s Art and Design courses were ranked Top 10 in the UK for Research Power following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and the University was ranked Top 50 in the UK – its highest ever league table position – in the Guardian University League Table 2017.

timehop summer sessions – Barnsley

Calling young creatives aged 14-19 in the Barnsley area…
Like creative writing or photography?
Interested in people or fashion?
Want to work with professional writers & artists?
Barnsley FREE August 2019 | At Library at the Lightbox (Barnsley town Centre)

If the answer is yes to any of these questions… come and check out the timehop summer sessions at the new Library at the Lightbox central library in Barnsley town centre.

You’ll take inspiration from the brilliant touring exhibition at the Civic – Visible Girls – looking at everything from changing fashions to identity, how youth cultures have changes and what are the expectations you deal with today as young people. We’ll look at all this, and you’ll ever take your own portraits (if you want to of course!)

No experience necessary and you don’t have to think you’re a great writer to come along. All you need is an interest in being creative and trying something new.

From the workshops, you can put your work through to be considered for a publication, or to record for a podcast. You’ll also hear about the new Civic Young Creatives Scheme, involving young people in projects through the Civic, have a tour of the new library (which promises to have a wide range of exciting community opportunities in the near future for all ages), and find out more about what’s going on in the region for young creatives.

What you waiting for? Get in touch at and put your name down!
Placed limited | Free, friendly & relaxed.

Come and be creative this summer!

Dates/times (these might change slightly so get in touch soon!)
Monday 19th August 4.30pm-7pm
Wednesday 21st August 4.30pm-7pm
(Last session/s time/day to be decided by group)
Where: At Library at the Lightbox (Barnsley town Centre) 

In partnership with Barnsley Libraries, Hive South Yorkshire & Barnsley Civic Theatre
Photos from Visible Girls by Anita Corbin

About Visible Girls
The original photographic series, Visible Girls by Anita Corbin portrayed the search for identity; the street-level self that was part of a tribe bonded by music, fashion and politics.36 years later, Corbin’s Visible Girls: Revisited has called those original Girls back together, viewing those changed women through a modern lens. | At the Civic 

Anita Corbin – Visible Girls from Tal Amiran on Vimeo.

Mixing Roots Project

Calling girls & young women aged 14-30
Are you interested in exploring your heritage or celebrating the richness of having more than one culture?

Mixing Roots is a summer project bringing together girls & young women from different backgrounds & cultures in a supportive space to talk, share & write about everything from the roots we come from & what has been passed down to us, to who we are today.

The project is led by award-winning writer & teacher Warda Yassin who’ll offer fun ways to share & write. It will end with a celebration & publication launch at Off the Shelf Festival of Words in the autumn.

Mixing Roots is aimed at those new to a writing group, no experience is needed & all levels are welcome. We’re particularly keen to encourage women of colour from any or no faith, and those who might not feel very confident but want to try something new & creative.

(Younger: aged 14-19 Older: aged 20-30)
Tues or Wed 6.30-8.30pm (from 9th July)
At Israac Somali Community & Cultural Centre (& possibly Saturday Burngreave Library if interest)
Israac Centre: 54 Cemetery Rd, Sheffield (near bottom of The Moor)
FREE | Refreshments provided | Supportive & relaxed | All welcome
Interested? Get in touch!

Supported by Off the Shelf Festival of Words

An interview with Dan Powell

After working with short story writer, Dan Powell, when he came to Hive Young Writers’ Festival in 2018, I decided he would be the perfect person to interview for my Arts Award. Dan was great to work with and gave me loads of ideas and fresh ways to look at things. Here he talks to me about all things writing including writers’ block, making mistakes and his short story collection Looking out of Broken Windows. Erik Rüder

When did you start to consider writing professionally?
Since I was six or seven, I have written stories. I started by cutting up my comics and reassembling the pictures into new stories. The fact that I am now engaged in a PhD in Creative Writing that involves wrestling with the structure and closural staging of short stories is interesting.

At fifteen, I remember going to my careers advice interview at school and being asked what I wanted to do for a living. I said I wanted to be a writer. The careers advisor paused for a moment and then suggested that I look at working in a bookshop or library. I can see where he was going with that, but I think some advice about college and university courses would have been more help to fifteen-year-old me. I ending up training for a PGCE and teaching English in schools and only really threw myself into writing for publication in my late-thirties.

I had been writing for all that time but my first step toward writing and publishing came when I signed up for an Open University course in Creative Writing. The feedback I got from tutors and the subsequent publication of some of my stories told me that I was doing something right and should keep going.

Do you experience writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I don’t really suffer from writer’s block as such, I tend to always have an idea of what I want to write, where my story should go next. I suffer instead from what you might call ‘writing block’ which is doing other things to avoid writing. I can always find something else to do, particularly when I know that the thing I need to write is going to be challenging in some way.

I suffer instead from what you might call ‘writing block’ which is doing other things to avoid writing.

The best way to avoid this, I have found, is to set myself a time limit. I put some washing in the washing machine or set an alarm for an hour from now and tell myself that I only need be at my desk for a set period of time. I then sit and write and, hopefully, usually, by the time the washing machine beeps or my alarm sounds, I am deep in the flow of writing and don’t want to stop. Dorothy Parker is quoted as saying “I hate writing, I love having written.” While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate writing, sometimes I don’t want to write, but, after working anyway, I always love having written.

What of your own works has been your favourite? Why?
Probably Half-mown Lawn. This was a story that was rejected by many editors and journals and prizes. So many I lost count. But I knew the story was good and kept sending it out there. I had faith that it would find a home. Which it did. First it won the Yeovil Literary Prize for Short Fiction. Then it was published in Salt’s Best British Short Stories. But more than that, this story still resonates with me deeply. The character of Annie in the story felt so present to me when I wrote it and still does today. She had a life before the story and one after. And there is a whole other story embedded under the surface narrative of her dealing with her grief that I might one day return to.

Hard to pick a favourite though. I could easily have chosen The Ideal Husband Exhibition. Or Adopt the Brace Position. Or Storm in a Teacup. Or Rip Rap. Or Dancing to the Shipping Forecast. Or my novel. If we are doing it properly, we grow to care about these characters we write about, we grow to care about their stories. It is because we care about these made up people that readers will too. So, yes, picking a favourite story is hard.

It is because we care about these made up people that readers will too.

Are there any potential mistakes a new writer could make? In terms of the practice itself, and the networking and competition side also.
I think the biggest mistake fiction writers can make is being too eager to publish/enter prizes. This leads to sending out work before it is really ready. Patience really is a virtue for the writer of fiction. It is always best to take time with your stories, to figure out how to make them the best they can be. If you can, put your stories away for a while and go back to them with fresh eyes. In doing so you will see your errors before you hit send or the submit button, which is always better than the alternative.

Conversely, don’t go too far the other way and be too nervous about sending things out when they are ready. Once you know you have done the best work you can, send your story out into the world. It will find its place eventually.

Would you ever consider branching out into different types of writing, like novels or poetry? Does the short story form hold any significance for you?
I have recently completed a novel and am currently working with my agent to edit the manuscript prior to submission to publishers. It is a different discipline and one I enjoy tackling. As for poetry, I dabble with it, writing poetry alongside my First Story workshop groups when I ask them to tackle the form. But I find poetry much more difficult than prose fiction and have only published one poem.

Looking out of Broken Windows makes for a quite unusual study of parenthood and the nature of relationship. What inspired it? How personal of a story would you consider it to be?
The central situation of that story was entirely imagined. I began simply with the image of a house with broken windows and someone coming down the drive and seeing the fractures for the first time. Not sure where that idea came from, but I began writing, following my usual process of letting the character and setting emerge and develop during the first draft, feeling my way toward the story and its eventual end. For me, that is what the writing process is, a slow movement, feeling my way forwards, toward an end that I can’t see but that I know when it arrives.

Though the story, characters and setting are entirely imagined, the central emotional core of the story, probably finds its origins in my own experiences, somewhere deep down, when I was a similar age to the narrator of that story. There is always some emotional truth tucked away inside a story, however imagined its surface is.

Though the story, characters and setting are entirely imagined, the central emotional core of the story, probably finds its origins in my own experiences, somewhere deep down, when I was a similar age to the narrator of that story. There is always some emotional truth tucked away inside a story, however imagined its surface is.

LooBW, as with much of your work, features a fairly significant element of magical realism. Do you have any thoughts on the use of that device- how it might be done appropriately, or misused?
I think you get a sense early on in the writing if the magical realist element of a story doesn’t work or if it is being misused. I have a handful of stories sitting in the depths of my laptop hard drive that misfired in some way, the magical element of the story somehow disconnected or disjointed from the narrative itself. You can’t always say exactly why it isn’t working but you just know it isn’t. Which is why those stories remain hidden away, because I know they is some sort of disconnect occurring in them, but I can’t see how to fix it. This kind of thing is something that is best seen after you have put the work aside for a bit. Coming back to the work with fresh eyes will at least tell you that it isn’t quite right. If you are lucky you will also see how to fix it.

Especially with regards to the somewhat recent International Congress on the Short Story, how do you balance your perspectives on fiction as a reader, academic and author? Does this present a problem? How much would you say they overlap?
I would say they overlap greatly. First of all, in order to write in a particular form, you need to read widely within that form. My writing of short fiction has always been informed by reading short fiction, both consciously and unconsciously. My academic study into preclosure in the short story is an attempt to make some of the unconscious processes at work when I write short fiction into conscious processes. In terms of balance, I have to make sure I don’t get too bogged down with theory as this can stifle creativity.

That said, I am finding the theoretical and methodological restrictions I am putting on myself have forced me to be more creative. I have found ways to both adhere to the writing frames I have constructed while also being creative in my application of the various structural and linguistic elements. If I had not embarked on this PhD journey I would not have been able to write these particular tales, so in that sense, perhaps the one that really matters, the three sides of myself, reader, academic and author are perfectly balanced.

Just generally, do you have any major ambitions for your future career? Are there any interesting projects you are currently working on?

My main ambitions currently are to find a publisher for my novel and to complete my PhD studies. I am looking forward to completing the drafts of my PhD stories and moving on to edit them. Once I do, I can start writing novel number two, the idea for which is burning a hole in my creative pocket at the moment.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions Dan.
You are most welcome Erik. Some fascinating questions here. I hope you own writing continues to go well.

Louise Rennison Funny Award 2020

Do you enjoy reading funny books? Maybe acting funny stuff out?

Come and chat with the organisers of the Louise Rennison National Funny Award 2020 for young writers and get inspired!

Louise Rennison was the best-selling author of many laugh-out-loud books including Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging and Dancing In My Nuddy Pants. You’ll hear more about her writing, writing comedy fiction in general, and hear about the launch of an award for young people who are interested in writing comedy.

As a winner, your writing could give you the chance of working with a
stand-up comic, a comedy radio producer and a well-known publishing house.

Sheffield Central Library (Carpenter Room)
Saturday 6th July 11am-12pm
Turn up or secure a place on Eventbrite:

FREE | Event open to ages 13+
(The award will be open to young writers aged 13-17)

Sheaf Poetry Festival Hivelights :)

We just want to say a big thank you to Sheaf Poetry Festival for a great festival this year and so many great opportunities for young poets. We had Foyle and Cuckoo winner, 16-year-old Georgie Woodhead from Sheffield Young Writers as Young Poet in Residence for the festival alongside established Poet in Residence, Mark Pajak. Warda Yassin, a long term member of the network who attends Hive’s Saturday Poetry group, read from her winning Poetry Business pamphlet with fellow New Poet 2018 winners selected by Kayo Chingonyi.

And on Sunday, there was a Hive showcase of talented young and emerging poets from Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham in the Performance Lab at Sheffield Hallam University. And as luck would have it, we recorded the 1-hour Hive showcase just for you! Enjoy poets: Sile Sibanda, Sundus Yassi, L Worthy, Lauren Green, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith, Louisa Rhodes, Georgie Woodhead & Danae Wellington.

All details at

Ear to the City Podcast Project

Ear to the City: A poetry & micro fiction podcast project
with Arji Manuelpillai & Vicky Morris

“I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It’s more important to confirm the least sincere. The clouds get enough attention as it is…” ― Frank O’Hara

The city offers the poet a feast of sights and sounds, of passing lives and often overlooked details. What do we encounter when we’re not rushing from A to B, when we loiter or chat to a strange? Everywhere we look there are interactions, conversations, transactions, life loudly and quietly happening, birds pecking at the world.

Join poets Arji Manuelpillai and Vicky Morris for writing and recording a soundscape podcast ode to city life. Expect some great writing prompts, thinking (and writing!) on your feet, and to be recording some of your words towards the end!

This project comes in two parts… It’s not necessary to do both (an evening session and the following day) but taking part in both will mean you’ve more time to develop ideas and to edit and record a contribution for the podcast.

Evening workshop: Tuesday 30th July 7/7.30 to 9/9.30pm
Day workshop: Wednesday 31st July 11 to 3.30pm

This project is for young & emerging writers (aged 15 to 30) of any experience and there is one pressure to produce something for the podcast.
Places limited | Refreshments provided
Cost: £5 for the whole project, £3 if you’re just coming to one session.
Hive is particularly keen to encourage young people who wouldn’t normally access this type of opportunity, and there are always discounts available for a number of tickets to support individuals who may be unable to pay in full, or to support travel costs within the region. Get in touch ASAP before places fill up if that sounds like you.

Booking: To book a place
Where: The Institute of Education, Charles Street Sheffield. This is just off Arundel Gate and Arundel Street, 5 minutes from Sheffield train & bus stations.
Charles Street Building info here
Google map info here: 133 Charles Street, Sheffield S1 2ND

Supported by Sheffield Hallam University Faculty of Development & Society

Arji Manuelpillai is a poet, rapper, performer and creative facilitator based in London. For over 15 years Arji has worked with community arts projects nationally and internationally. He is co-founder of children’s theatre company A Line Art and is an advocate for arts as a tool for change. Recently, his poetry has been published by magazines including ProleCannon’s MouthStrixRialto and The Lighthouse Journal. He has also been shortlisted for the BAME Burning Eye pamphlet prize 2018, The Robert Graves Prize 2018 and The Live Canon Prize 2017. Arji is a member of Wayne Holloway-Smith’s poetry group, Malika’s Poetry Kitchen and London Stanza.

Vicky Morris is a poet, occasional short story writer, educator and creative practitioner based in Sheffield. She has been published in places like Butcher’s Dog, The Interpreter’s House, Brittle Star, and Verse Matters anthology (Valley Press). She won first place in the Prole Laureate Competition 2019 and was highly commended in the Carers UK Poetry Competition 2017. Vicky won a Northern Writers Award in 2014, and in 2019 The Sarah Nutly Award for Creativity for her impact in Sheffield and beyond. 

Arji & Vicky are both part of the Arvon/Jerwood mentorship programme 2019/20.

Sheaf Poetry Festival

Starting Friday 17th May until Sunday 26th May it’s the Sheaf Poetry Festival 2019 – a new poetry festival for Sheffield and nearby – and Hive is delighted to be part of it! Well, in so much as some of the young poets in our network and groups are going to be taking part.

“We’ve been working hard to programme a vibrant combination of poetry, spoken word and cross-disciplinary events for all poetry lovers to enjoy, and a friendly festival atmosphere in which that can happen.”

Foyle and Cuckoo winner, 16-year-old Georgie Woodhead from Sheffield Young Writers is proud to be young poet in residence for the festival alongside established Poet in Residence, Mark Pajak. She will be reading with Mark at the Friday 17th opening event.

On Saturday 18th May, Warda Yassin, who attends Hive’s Saturday Poetry group and has been part of the network since 2012, will be reading with fellow New Poet 2018 winners selected by Kayo Chingonyi in the run-up to the launch of their winning Poetry Business pamphlets which we’re so excited for.

And on Sunday, we’ve got a showcase of talented Hive young and emerging poets from Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham reading from 1-2pm (free) in the Performance Lab at Sheffield Hallam University.

Aside from all this goodness, there’s a brilliant range of free and affordable happenings, workshops, readings, even a ghost walk! If you’re a poetry enthusiast or occasional dabbler, and near to Sheffield, come and dip your toes in (or maybe a whole foot!)

All details at

Pop Up Portraits

Recently, at Hive Young Writers’ Festival, Warren Draper, with help from assistant Cameron, photographed writers of all ages, backgrounds and interested asking one single question – give me a word you’re into right now and why? Here’s the result! (p.s. We’re sorry if your photo isn’t here. We believe a few might have gone awol!)

Scribble, Doodle, and Draw

FREE workshops: 13th & 27th June & 11th July [Thursdays] 10.30 to 12.30pm [Refeshments provided] | All welcome 18+
Open to adults of all ages. No experience needed, just a keeness to try something new!

Book through reception at The Point or 01302 341662 or email:

Scribble, Doodle, and Draw: Taking Time and Noticing the Bright
Lydia Allison Poet in Residence Doncaster Community Arts

Scribble, Doodle, and Draw has been running for just over a month. In the run-up to devising some new workshops, I paid it an enjoyable visit. The first thing that hit me was the bright and welcoming atmosphere (not unusual for DARTS!) and the sense of fun. You are greeted by mounted posters and comic-style pages, a mix of front cover style, and strips to standalone pieces. Comics are all about characters and there are tons in this exhibition, from the finely draw and small, to the big and bold.

The main gallery space is striking; the walls have been transformed into three comic book pages. The first is the old woman who swallowed a fly, the second an all-too-real satire of baby shark and life with a young child, and the third a particularly ‘charming’ tale of Prince Rattypants.

Each of the walls tells a story and sets a mood using minimal words and bold images. The black and pink scheme also adds to the striking but ultimately calm atmosphere and the big cushions you can sit on make it easy to simply enjoy being there. in a sense it’s a continuation of the feeling of buying a Saturday morning comic; sitting, reading, enjoying. It’s also a pleasure to see a mix of young people and adults coming through.

The nostalgia continues as you travel up to the mezzanine, where there is a selection of comic books and graphic novels. This is the perfect stop to sit and zoom in flicking through new highlights and old favourites. For me this had to be the Beano’s Bash Sreet Kids, but there’s something for everyone! I think it would be great to explore old favourites in our writing sessions and to use some of the existing characters and images to make something new.

Back downstairs, you can also spend time in the second gallery space, which houses a large table covered in an enormous colouring sheet. It calls to the child in you, the one who knows the value of sitting and doing something just for the pleasure of it. There are coloured pens and seats so anybody can take some time out for themselves and make their mark.

I started gathering ideas for unusual ways to approach writing. I’d like to use a bit of a combination of image and text, but am very excited to see how others want to approach this balance. The overriding feelings were of fun, but also calm – and this is something I want to maintain in the creative writing sessions. There are many ways for stories to be told and I look forward to exploring them!

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From 9 March to 20 July, The Point’s gallery is home to a new exhibition: Scribble, Doodle & Draw.
The gallery has transformed into a giant comic strip!

With characters to meet, stories to follow and opportunities to learn how to draw like a comic artist, this exhibition is perfect for losing yourself in an imaginary world. It features original pieces from published artists Jim MedwayEd Syder and Tor Freeman who have painted directly onto our gallery walls. There are plenty of opportunities to create your own artwork and be exhibited alongside the professionals!

School/group visits are welcomed. You can lead your own visit or we can provide an artist-led session for your group: please find more information about group visits to our gallery here. If you would like more information, you can call 01302 341662 or email